If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
In June of 2009, the White House launched an “inform on your fellow Americans” email campaign. It was subsequently and immediately swamped beyond capacity with ridicule, anger, and mockery by Americans who were offended by the suggestion that they are just naturally untrustworthy and coveted their neighbors’ homes, bank accounts, lawnmowers, and wives. The campaign’s purpose was to cajole Americans to rat on anyone who bad-mouthed Congress’s socialist healthcare plans. It was a short-lived experiment. When one goes to that particular White House website, one finds a blank page with a Jobs Act banner atop.
Fortunately, the words of that infamous campaign have been preserved in past commentaries:
“There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors travel just beneath the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org…. Scary chain emails and videos are starting to percolate on the internet, breathlessly claiming, for example, to ‘uncover’ the truth about the President’s health insurance reform positions.”
Now we have Son of Snitch, a.k.a. “Attack Watch,” copyrighted, no less, by “Obama for America.” And it looks like it’s going to suffer the same fate. It is not so much “scary” as astonishingly obtuse. Word no sooner got out that Attack Watch was up and ready for Americans to “report” smears, inaccuracies, and lies about the White House agenda, than the site was deluged with countless responses, most of them of a “Tonight Show,” Jay Leno-monologue caliber.
You can’t make this stuff up, unless you’re George Orwell composing a novel about kids turning in their parents for being thought criminals. What’s that slogan the Department of Homeland Security dreamed up? “If you see something, say something.” Attack Watch is perfectly in line with that brand to proactive “patriotism.”
Of course, after reporting unauthorized “talking points,” one can also donate money to the White House’s reelection campaign, run by the Democratic National Committee. Highlights from the Attack Watch site include:
Immigration Reform Inaccuracies: Republican media figures have accused President Obama of refusing to deport hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants.
Israel and Middle East Falsehoods: President Obama’s opponents have falsely suggested that the President has not been a strong ally to Israel.
Gun Control Gossip: Public figures have made outlandish claims that President Obama is planning to use a United Nations treaty to take away legal firearms from gun owners in the US.
TARP Bank Bailout Smears: Attacks claiming the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) was signed into law by President Obama are factually incorrect.
Opponents are using smears to undermine the success of President Obama’s auto rescue. Get the facts.
Well, yes, Americans want to get the facts, but the last place they should hunt for them is in the White House. There, facts are scarcer than roses on Venus. Allow me some ribaldry:
The White House refuses to deport hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants because they’re going to be virtually the only people who will vote Democratic in 2012.
The White House is a strong ally of Israel. It wants Israel to return to its pre-WWII borders, that’s all it’s asking.
The White House isn’t against the private ownership of BB guns and water-pistols. Or even paintball guns. The United Nations has said nothing about those weapons.
TARP was not the White House’s idea. It was President Bush’s. He signed the legislation, not the current occupant, who simply continued his predecessor’s policies. And Congress’s. Do not blame the current occupant of the White House if TARP is a shambles and a scandal!
On a more serious note, any chief executive who would recruit a nation’s citizens to report on the speech of other citizens, regardless of its form or venue, is indicative of an individual who has violated his oath of office, and who would not feel constrained by the Constitution to act to punish anyone for speaking his mind. This is aside from the executive’s allegations that what others are saying about him or his policies is true or not. It is not the legitimate function of the executive branch of our government to behave like a human litmus test or a philosopher’s stone.
It is not the function of that office to establish any one truth, but to acknowledge a truth. If certain policies are being “attacked,” that is in the nature of politics. Policies are not exempt from debate, discussion, or criticism. What Attack Watch seeks to accomplish is the obfuscation of truth.
And the truth about the efficacy, ineptness, or destructive nature of those policies is a natural “talking point” of all American citizens, in and out of office.